The Gatekeeper’s Sons by Eva Pohler

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 0 (Yes, you read that right)

Okay, bear with me guys, this one is going to be a long one. First of all, I am so surprised that Eva Pohler is a writing and literature teacher at a university and not, as her writing shows, an immature twelve-year-old student.

First of all, the summary. Therese is a fifteen-year-old girl who watches her parents die. While she is unconscious, she meets the sons of Hades – Hypnos and Thanatos. <b>When she meets Thanatos, they are immediately infatuated with one another.</b>

Than is so in love that he decides to go to the mortal world to meet Therese and win her over. But Therese is required to avenge the death of her parents, leading to a one on one fight with her parents’ murderer.

Let me tell you, the writing in this is absolutely awful. From the very first page, I could tell that the author broke the rule of “show, don’t tell”. The car crash scene was already written TERRIBLY – it felt as though the author was trying to make it scary and heartbreaking, but her writing style was simply not up to par.

My least favorite part about this book was – well, everything – but my LEAST LEAST favorite part about this book was Therese.

I’ve already mentioned this in one of my status updates – as Therese’s parents drown, memories suddenly invade her mind and she reminisces about deer. One, this broke the vibe of the crash that Pohler tried and failed to establish, and two, if your parents are dying in front of your very eyes, actually do something.

[ (Update: The author told me how it was meant to portray how Therese was overcome by memories in the moment and it seemed like everything was going in slow-motion. I haven’t experienced such a tragedy, and I guess I wasn’t able to tie in this feeling with the book at the time. I reread the scene and I still feel like it broke the vibe, but now I know the reason it was included.) ]

Next, Therese is a lucid dreamer.
I’m a lucid dreamer, and so I know what they feel like.
I did some research, and Eva Pohler used to be one too, meaning that she should be able to describe them in more vivid detail, and yet her descriptions of Therese’s dreams are repetitive and juvenile.

Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?

Therese willed his shirt off, and the shirt disappeared.
The boy laughed. “You have so much control. Very few people are lucid dreamers, and I’ve never known anyone like you.”

Oh yes, Therese. Aren’t you just SO special?

Let’s look at more examples!

She looked around the room. They were all zombies. That’s when she knew she was dreaming.


She touched a front tooth with her finger, and the tooth fell out. Then she smiled. “This must be a dream.”


One group of rocks resembled a giant hand, like that of a god. That triggered an idea in Therese’s mind. I’m dreaming.

Noticing a pattern? I sure did. Every time I read another dream scene, I became more and more annoyed, because I knew that Pohler was going to have Therese realize the exact same way. And so, once, again, there was proof of the author’s terrible writing.

Now, for the relationship between Than and Therese.
It was a case of insta-love, which I have never been a fan of.
The first time Therese hugs Than, he is already smitten – to the point where he begs his father, Hades, to allow him to become mortal to chase after the girl he’s known only for a few seconds.

Now, I haven’t read twilight – but I’ve seen enough of it to know about that scene where Edward tells Bella she likes watching her sleep. And a scene in The Gatekeeper’s Sons definitely reminded me of that. Let me explain. Than can turn himself invisible – and obviously, he takes advantage of this power. Blah blah blah, one day, Therese finds out exactly how, and this is how their conversation goes down.

“You were there? In my room?”
Than blushed. “Are you angry with me?”

Now, ladies, if you ever find out that someone has been sneaking into your room and spying on you, I hope you do the exact opposite of what Therese does and gives that creeper what they deserve.
This is what Therese says in response.

“I’m only angry that you didn’t make yourself visible and kiss me, especially when you saw me crying.”
“Yeah. It was hard not to take you in my arms.”
“I’m angry you didn’t.”
“I’m sorry.”

What the actual fuck? (Pardon my language) but this is a big NO-NO for me. There are SO many things wrong with situation – starting with Therese’s attitude. Especially in this conversation, Therese is revealed to be weak and dependent on her lover – and in her eyes, Than’s crime was not invading her privacy, but it was not being there for her when she needed him.

Keep in mind that he wasn’t even SUPPOSED to be there.

Moving along with the relationship, Therese’s attidude completely transforms into one that is unacceptable for a heroine. She transforms, to the point where she cannot LIVE without Than; she defines her own identity by him, and she begins to embrace death because it means becoming closer to him.

Then she said, “And if you leave me again, I swear I’ll kill myself to be with you.”

No. I just…no. This line set of all the warning signals in my brain – this relationship has gone from bad to worse to toxic. What is Pohler trying to tell her readers? That this is the definition of love? That love is the willingness to lose yourself to hold on to someone else?

I’m a romantic, but I have to say, that this is not the definition of love at all.
There are moments where people have to realize that loving yourself is important too – you have to be able to love yourself before you love someone else, and before you accept their love for you. Therese breaks all the rules here – she diminishes her own worth and sets Than high above everybody else, including herself.

That’s not love, that’s obsession.

Therese was just SUCH a Mary-Sue. She could do everything, and she had all the traits that made her perfect – everything about her was so perfect that even the gods fell in love with her.
To make it easier for you, I’ve compiled a list!
1. Therese loved animals and nature (which is why Artemis loved her)
2. Therese had a kind and giving heart (which appealed to Zeus)
3. Therese played the flute (Athena invented the flute, so she loved her)
4. Therese loved to swim (so Poseidon took mercy on her)
5. BASICALLY THERESE’S KIND AND MERCIFUL SOUL (Persephone, Hestia, Aphrodite, Demeter)

Therese’s overperfection was just sickening.

She was perfect, and yet she was so wishy-washy and annoying that I wondered what Than even saw in her.

For the last part of my review I want to go back to Eva Pohler’s writing style – the entire book was simply written badly, but there were a few instances where I really paused and had to put my phone down just to –

This one line in particular:

Then he covered her mouth with his and gave her a deep, lusty kiss.




And when she had the opportunity to write something like this:
They smiled softly and Therese felt her eyes trembling with the tears she had held back for so long. Her legs tangled together as she collapsed into their arms, desperate to hold them one last time.
Pohler wrote this instead:
They smiled and held out their arms. She ran to them and felt their warm embrace.

See the difference?

I have so much more to say but this review has gone on long enough and I know if I keep going it’ll just be one loooooooong rant, so let me just end this on the worst line of their entire book.

“It’s almost like you’re voice is singing in place of the flute, or as if the flute were an extension of yourself.”

Yes, the author committed a grave sin – she used the wrong “your” and that is completely unacceptable. Not to mention how bad this line already was.

So yeah, don’t torture yourself by reading this book.

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